Iterating on Crimson ReLive Edition (2016)

Although 17.7.2 is nominally a step up from version 17.7.1 of the same driver branch, AMD has marked the release with a bit of a mid-year report. While the total driver releases are in line with last year, it should be noted that in 2017 AMD has released five WHQL drivers so far: 17.4.4, 17.4.3, 17.2.1, 17.1.2, and 16.12.2. For 2016, AMD released eight WHQL releases, over-fulfilling their promised six WHQL drivers; for 2017, AMD appears to be well on track to deliver again. Once again, AMD touts the same 90% user satisfaction rating reported at the end of 2016.

Like last December, AMD points out their top bug fixes, a result of their renewed dynamic update schedule. This has proven important for tools like ReLive, which like most new tools had launched with some teething issues. For gains in gaming performance, AMD points to improvements in RX 480 performance in three 2017 games, although it’s not clear if this represents post-day-0 gains since all three games were launched after Crimson ReLive (2016).

Crimson ReLive (2016) also extended Linux driver support for all GCN discrete graphics cards and additionally brought FreeSync 1.0 support to the OS. Following up on those efforts, AMD cites last month’s article from Phoronix for RX 470 game performance gains in Linux.

Turning User Feedback into Radeon Software Changes

If you’ve ever clicked the star icon at the top right of Radeon Settings, then you know about the Radeon Software feedback webpage, a feature introduced in the ReLive Edition. Part of this page is a voting section, where users can upvote items on a given selection of ideas and features. In 17.7.2, AMD has implemented the top two: “Remove Radeon Additional Settings and transfer all functionality into Radeon Settings” and “Bring back advanced Video features options into new Radeon Settings.”

With 17.7.2, the most egregious elements of the old CCC UI are transferred into the Radeon Software QT framework. The custom resolutions option now sits at the bottom of the monitor list. Furthermore, clicking on the “Color” button for a given monitor brings up per-display color controls, essentially bringing back the advanced video options.

AMD notes that it is now end-of-life for Radeon Additional Settings, with the exception of Eyefinity. For the time being, a remnant of Radeon Additional Settings will continue to live on in Eyefinity Advanced Setup, which still opens up the CCC-based Eyefinity display group configuration. It is likely only a matter of time before this too is incorporated into Radeon Settings.

Arguably, these top two requested features are part of the same issue. Nevertheless, implementing those features reflects a direct link between user feedback and subsequent informed changes in Radeon Software. On some level, AMD has put its money where its mouth is in terms of feedback-driven user experience.

Early Access for Drivers: Radeon Software Vanguard Beta Tester Program

Thematically, the story of 17.7.2 is one of refining the Crimson ReLive Edition (2016) user experience, particularly based on user feedback. In looking to the future, AMD is launching the Radeon Software Vanguard Beta Tester Program, providing selected participants with pre-release Radeon Software drivers to play-test and share feedback on.

Comprising of both gamers and professionals, the idea behind the program is to have Vanguard Beta testers work directly with AMD representatives on quality issues, while also submitting feedback and new ideas based on their experience with early access Radeon Software. AMD envisages a “like-minded community of gamers, streamers, developers and other industry professionals” that can provide an end user perspective in their quest to make Radeon Software better.

AMD is offering more information and details on their Vanguard Beta Tester page.

Crimson ReLive Edition 17.7.2: ReLive Edition Refined ReLive 2017: Improved Features, More Controls, Less Overhead
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  • ComputerGuy2006 - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - link

    I read the title too fast, for a second I assumed they had tweaked the radeon software interface. I miss the old interface. The one that had a hierarchy on the left and the settings on the right. It was simple, intuitive and easy to use. Even after few years I am still not comfortable using this 'touch screen' type of interface, I often find myself frustrated while using it....
  • Cryio - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - link

    Just W7 and W10 targeted improvements? No W8.1? Seems wrong.
  • CBRworm - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - link

    AMD doesn't support W8.1 with the RX 5xx cards.
  • Cryio - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

  • highlnder69 - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    Any particular reason you are still using Windows 8.1 over Windows 10?
  • Alexvrb - Thursday, July 27, 2017 - link

    Computer plugged in, check. Display connected, check. Modern system with latest-gen discrete graphics, check. Free Windows 10 upgrade... darn it! I knew I forgot something!

    Alternatively, maybe alcohol was a factor?
  • Ascaris - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    What do you mean "still?" I just migrated to 8.1 in February or April of this year.

    Once I saw that I could wall off, remove, block, or rip out the Metro stuff nearly completely, the six years of security support vs. the three for 7 made it easy. I can avoid 10 for more than half a decade now-- that's a really long time for an OS, as I think you would agree. Maybe MS will actually have a coherent thought or two by then and reverse direction. If not, that's six more years of Linux getting better (I already dual-boot it now).

    Surely you must not have missed all the reasons people avoid 10.
  • highlnder69 - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    I simply cannot think of one reason why anyone would want to run Windows 8.1 when you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free. What exactly don't you like about Windows 10?
  • Ascaris - Saturday, July 29, 2017 - link

    It's all been said before, but if you want me to go over it again...

    I don't like the spying. I don't like the forced updates. I don't like ads. I don't like "Windows as a service," aka permanent beta quality level. I don't like unwanted Candy Crush downloads, or downloads of anything else. I don't like Windows deciding to uninstall whatever it feels like, whenever it feels like. I don't like Windows deciding to replace my drivers with whatever it finds in the Windows catalog.

    None of that stuff is in Windows 8.1, with the possible exception of the backported telemetry (which is also in 7 to exactly the same degree, and can be avoided or mitigated in the same way). Those are the major disqualifiers for Windows 10.

    Windows 8.1 was a disaster in UI terms out of the box, but so is 10. I have used both, and I don't see 10 as a huge improvement over 8.1. Windows 8.1 has a full-screen tiled start screen; Windows 10 has the same thing scaled down to only take part of the screen. Is that really a big advantage? I can't stand tiles at all-- either way, an aftermarket start menu is going to be needed. Classic Shell, including Classic Start, is free and works very well. In both cases, as well as with Windows 7, an aftermarket tweaking tool is necessary to smooth the rough edges of File Explorer, and Classic Shell performs that task to perfection. It's so necessary that I've donated to the devs of the otherwise completely free Classic Shell; it's worth paying for.

    The same is true with the File Manager's ribbon. It's one of the big issues I have with unmodded 8.1, but it has infected Windows 10 just as badly. With the ribbon being as hated as it is, why does MS insist on forcing it on people? I understand that some minority actually likes it, but most seem to dislike it... so if you must have the ribbon, make the traditional File, Edit, View... menu bar an option. Again, an aftermarket solution is necessary. Old New Explorer does it quite nicely.

    I hate apps. My PC is not a phone! In Windows 8.x, they're just tacked on; nothing depends on them. I know from experience that 8.1 is perfectly stable and reliable without any of them present. A tiny utility called install_wim_tweak and a batch file dispatches all apps permanently, and that's that. They will never come back in 8.1, as 8.1 (despite being supposedly in mainstream support for one more year) only gets bugfixes and security fixes. There's not going to be some big architectural change that includes a dependency on some app, and there won't be some huge new version coming every 6 months that reinstalls them all as has happened in the past with 10 (repeatedly).

    You don't know that removing apps is always going to work with 10. The last time I had 10 installed on my PC, it did have all of the 'apps' ripped out, including Cortana and Edge, but with 10's code base undergoing constant churn, there's no way to know that what worked in the last build will work in the next. Some reports from people still in 10 have validated this fear-- Windows 10 is no longer stable with Cortana removed.

    You can't escape UWP in Windows 10. Many system dialogs are only in the UWP style, and this continues to get worse in each new build, as MS moves more and more functionality of the Control Panel into Settings. This process had barely started when MS abandoned 8.1 and began work on 10, and everything a person needs to do can be done in the classic Control Panel or in the MMC. As such, I've simply banished Settings on 8.1... references to it are removed from my start menu, and the tiny program called Metro Killer finishes the job, preventing the inadvertent triggering of anything Metro. Classic Shell already did away with the hot corners triggering the useless Charms, but Metro Killer makes sure.
  • RKCook - Friday, July 28, 2017 - link

    People that avoid Windows 10 are doing so compared Windows 7.

    Windows 8 was quite simply a horrid abomination for a desktop or laptop OS. 8.1 did a small bit to correct the glaring defects. And then took time to fix all of the problems with Win 10.

    My laptop at work crapped out and I received a Win 7 loaner for a weekend. I realized that I like 10 better.

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